Economist Brian Easton, writing on Pundit, reminds us of Labour’s election manifesto promise to make the Chief Archivist an officer of Parliament. But fulfilling this promise has taken so long, “there must be a problem”.
It’s an office that only occasionally makes it into the headlines.
In March, Archives New Zealand announced that the Chief Archivist had issued a General Notice under section 20 of the Public Records Act 2005 exercising his authority to implement a moratorium on the disposal of any records relevant to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson was pretty chipper about the state of the NZ economy when he took questions in Parliament on the latest GDP data. He reckons the economy continues to grow “solidly”, in the face of global headwinds.
Noting the economy had expanded 2.7% in the March year, with growth of 0.6% in the last quarter, he was particularly pleased with the construction sector’s 3.7% growth.
So what happened to New Zealand’s housing “crisis”? Was it real, or just another imagined but emotive issue akin to “peak oil”, the fetish of the Green Party back at the turn of the century which was accompanied by grim forebodings that the world would run out of oil by 2006?
Surely it was not just a figment of our – or the public’s – imagination! After all, the media for months carried nightly images of the hundreds of homeless on the streets, people living in garages or – if they were lucky – people being accommodated at state expense in motels.
A Flat Tax: The Good, the Bad and Why It Probably Won’t Happen was the headline on an article published in Money Talks News – pitched at an American audience – in 2014.
Act leader David Seymour, who included a flat tax among the policies he unveiled at the weekend, should take note. Even if he was to get 14 MPs into Parliament (anyone putting money on that very, very long shot?), all the other Parliamentarian will vote to stick with a progressive income tax system.
But that’s no reason for a debate to be stifled.
The article in Money Talks News took the complex US Federal tax code into considerations (the code comprised 73,954 pages in 2013 and included seven tax rates, four standard deductions and at least a dozen tax credits for individuals. Then there were exemptions, itemised deductions and the special tax rules.
Why not eliminate all those hoops and simply tax everyone using the same percentage?
Pressure may be mounting for a broad inquiry into the banking industry following recent incidents involving the biggest trading bank in NZ.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said this week banks are “bullies” (according to a Radio NZ report). It’s a sentiment shared by many New Zealanders.
This sentiment has been rekindled by the departure of ANZ’s CEO David Hisco who, it had been found, passed off charges for chauffeur-driven cars and the cost of storing his wine collection as business rather than personal expenses.
RNZ’s Morning Report yesterday led us to hope we would hear something about the attractions of a flat tax, an idea once promoted by Roger Douglas when he was Minister of Finance in the Lange government.
A flat tax – adopted in some American states and European countries – is among the tax reforms favoured by the Act party as it tries to refresh its image.
We were led to believe the Morning Report team would kick this around with Act leader David Seymour just before 8am yesterday because they mentioned it in their introduction to an interview with him.
Presenter Corin Dann said Act is targeting free speech “and radical tax reform” as it works to lift voter support heading into next year’s election.
Defence Minister Ron Mark, when restating the government’s Pacific Reset at the multi-national Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore earlier this month, explained a shift in regional and operational imperatives.
“The Reset is both a vision, and a commitment to lift our ambition as part of the Pacific community.It is about changing our mind-set toaddress the increasingly complex issues in our region. It emphasises both what we are doing in the region, as well as how we operate. Foremost, it is about genuine partnership and mutual respect. In many ways the Pacific region is where NZ matters most and can have a more positive impact. It is our neighbourhood, and where we most certainly act locally.
“Through our Strategic Defence Policy Statement, we raised the priority placed on our Defence Force’s ability to operate in the Pacific to the same level as New Zealand’s territory, the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.”
It’s a fair guess that the winner of the Conservative party leadership contest (and thus the UK’s next PM) will be committed to leaving the EU on 31 October. But come that date, will the UK leave with an agreement or without one (putting aside the less likely option of not leaving at all).
From the British perspective, the agreement required can be seen as modest: letting UK transition (as a complete united kingdom) to an independent trading and regulatory model, but one aligned with Europe. Not a million miles from the deal initialed with the EU by soon-to-be-departing PM Theresa May.
In this, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced that Budget 2019 has allocated $56.1 million over four years towards implementing the Whenua Māori Programme which Mahuta announced in February.
She described this as “a strategic investmentinto the development of whenua, Māori freehold landowners and their whānau.”